French activists protest racism and police brutality | EUROtoday

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Families, neighborhood teams and far-left activists marched in cities round France on Saturday to decry racism and police brutality, placing authorities on edge at a time when French police are deployed en masse for a string of high-security occasions.

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Lingering anger over the killing by police of 17-year-old Nahel Merzouk in June was an impetus for Saturday’s protests, however they included teams with disparate calls for for immigrants’ rights, inexpensive housing and financial justice. More than 100 marches had been deliberate round France, and Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin ordered particular police vigilance.

Tensions briefly flared on the largely peaceable, boisterous protest in Paris. Members of the gang smashed home windows of a financial institution alongside the march route, and police evacuated the rattled staff. At one other spot, protesters surrounded a police automobile and an officer darted out, waving his gun.

Some 30,000 police and gendarmes had been working Saturday to maintain order for a go to by Pope Francis to Marseille and at three Rugby World Cup matches, based on the inside minister’s workplace. The safety presence was additionally bolstered for the three-day go to of Britain’s King Charles and Queen Camilla, which wrapped up Friday night.

The protesters’ calls for embrace harder guidelines limiting using firearms by police; an unbiased physique to exchange the inner company tasked with investigating police abuses; and huge state funding in low-income neighborhoods.

Marchers lamented what they really feel has been a failure to deal with issues uncovered by the killing of Merzouk, a French-born youth of north African descent, within the Paris suburb of Nanterre. He was stopped by two officers who subsequently alleged that he’d been driving dangerously, and died from a shot by way of his left arm and chest. The officer who fired the shot was given a preliminary cost of voluntary murder.

Merzouk’s loss of life unleashed violent protests in Nanterre that unfold and morphed into nationwide riots. Mass police deployment quelled the mayhem, however tensions linger.

“The police kill in France. That is not new. But we have the impression that the middle classes and others outside the low-income neighborhoods are gaining awareness of repression by the state,’’ said Belkacem Amirat, who came from the Paris suburb of Antony to march in the capital.

Law student Justine Larnac said “the system of police needs to be fundamentally reformed,” notably to curb police violence throughout arrests and site visitors stops and handle racial profiling.

The French authorities denies systemic racism or brutality by police. Paris police chief Laurent Nunez defended officers, saying Saturday on broadcaster France-Info that they generally want to make use of “legitimate, legal and proportional violence” to cease ‘’harmful conduct, vandalism and looting.’’

For Saturday’s march in Paris, 1,000 officers had been deployed to maintain order.

In Marseille, about 5,000 police officers and 1,000 personal safety officers had been in place for the pope’s go to, in addition to dozens of surveillance cameras alongside Francis’ route. President Emmanuel Macron, after assembly with the pope Saturday, shook arms with onlookers and police guarding the venue.

Security measures have additionally been heightened within the 9 cities internet hosting the Rugby World Cup, working from Sept. 8-Oct. 28.

Organizers of Saturday’s protests embrace the far-left get together France Unbowed and hard-left union CGT, amongst Macron’s loudest critics. Climate activists, a farmers’ collective and neighborhood teams that work to fight racism and police abuse additionally took half.